Is Greenwashing the New Money Laundering?

Not exactly. It’s not new. And it’s a lot bigger.

Greenwash Guy Pearse 2012

The trillions involved are likely to dwarf the entire history of money laundering. Dig into the numbers below.

But lets look on the bright sunny core of greenwashing.

Unlike money laundering this is not aiding and abetting criminals. On the contrary. It’s keeping legal businesses alive. Think of all the dependent employees and pensioners.

Also greenwashing is excellent for GDP – think of all the otherwise starving families of advertisers, artists, analysts, copywriters, lawyers, lobbyists and media professionals.

Finally, greenwashing truly is beyond petroleum, profit and GDP. It’s about well-being. Scientific research has shown greenwashing systematically and reliably reduces investors’ anxieties.  

Just follow the money…


see also


blackincbooks.com.  2012  Greenwash by Guy Pearse  –  “Greenwashing is when a company or organization spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimizing their environmental impact. It is a deceitful advertising gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands.”

researchgate.net/ Book_Review_Greenwash_Big_Brands_and_Carbon_Scams/  – 2016 –  read or download


articles updated 11/2021


thenextweb.com/   22/11/2021 ‘Greenhushing’ is the new greenwashing in the EV industry – It’s time to speak up on sustainability   BY Polestar

…”…Greenhushing is the term used to describe an organization’s deliberate undercommunication about its sustainability practices, in the hope of avoiding scrutiny and criticism. ..”…


 

independent.co.uk/  9/11/2021  We’re being lied to by deceptive welfare labelling on animal products – The government must ensure that all animal products clearly explain how the animal lived and died, and explicitly label lower welfare imports as below UK standards. That’s the bare minimum we should demand – by Connor Jackson


bbc.co.uk  6/11/2021 Climate change: The US state taking on an oil giant for greenwashing  By Chris Morris & Merlyn Thomas 

“The question of responsibility for the effects of global warming is – slowly – being tested in court. One case in Massachusetts is using consumer laws to take on oil giant ExxonMobil. If the US state wins, it will be the first case in the world to successfully prosecute a fossil fuel company for greenwashing and misleading the public.

How much is the fossil fuel industry actually doing to tackle climate change? If you listen to the companies themselves, quite a lot. ExxonMobil, the American oil and gas giant, says it’s committed to new energy solutions that don’t contribute as much to global warming – such as fuel made from algae. The firm claims it could “one day power planes, propel ships and fuel trucks and cut their emissions in half”. One of its adverts says: “Every technology we’re working on helps lower our carbon footprint. Because when it comes to addressing climate change, our actions make a difference.”

But not everyone’s buying it. “There’s this giant disconnect,” says Naomi Oreskes, a professor at Harvard University, who’s been monitoring disinformation tactics used by big businesses for years. “The reality of their business model is to continue to exploit, develop and sell oil and gas. But their advertising, their communications, make it seem as if they’re these great guys committed to sustainability and renewable energy.”…”…


independent.co.uk  2/11/2021  World’s worst polluters accused of Facebook greenwashing campaign using ‘dark ads’ – Massive Attack frontman Robert Del Naja says platform responsible for ‘climate disinformation’  by Andrew Buncombe


telegraph.co.uk 2/11/2021  Generation Greenwash: are the young really as ‘eco’ as they think they are?
Research shows Boomers are doing more to help the environment than the vocal younger demographic, who don’t always practise what they preachy – by Judith Woods


sky.com/   8/10/2021  Climate change: Drax’s renewable energy plant is UK’s biggest CO2 emitter, analysis claims- Drax received more than £800m in subsidies last year for burning woody biomass at its Selby plant, but the UK’s classing of biomass as renewable is contentious.    by Victoria Seabrook


theguardian.com  4/10/2021 Biomass is promoted as a carbon neutral fuel. But is burning wood a step in the wrong direction?  by Rebecca Speare-Cole


bloomberg.com   29/9/2021 Fund Managers Start Axing ESG Buzzword as Greenwash Rules Bite  By Steven Arons , Frances Schwartzkopff

  • ESG integrated’ is being dropped from public documents
  • Development follows Europe’s anti-greenwash

“Some of Europe’s biggest asset managers are starting to drop a once-ubiquitous ESG label from their company filings amid concern that regulators will no longer tolerate vague descriptions of environmental, social and governance investing. Money managers including Allianz Global Investors and DWS Group have either stopped using the catch-all term “ESG integrated” in their public documents or are playing down its relevance in interactions with investors, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing internal changes. They said the language choice followed new European disclosure rules….”…


theguardian.com/ 28/9/2021/ virgin-medias-recycling-promise-gets-zero-marks


theguardian.com  9/9/2021 Big oil’s ‘wokewashing’ is the new climate science denialism – Academic researchers say the fossil fuel industry has a new tool to delay efforts to curb emissions – a social justice strategy

ExxonMobil has been touting its commitment to “reducing carbon emissions with innovative energy solutions”. Chevron would like to remind you it is keeping the lights on during this dark time. BP is going #NetZero, but is also very proud of the “digital innovations” on its new, enormous oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile Shell insists it really supports women in traditionally male-dominated jobs.  A casual social media user might get the impression the fossil fuel industry views itself as a social justice warrior, fighting on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and women – at least based on its marketing material in recent years.  These campaigns fall into what a handful of sociologists and economists call “discourses of delay”. While oil and gas companies have a long track record of denying climate change, even after their own scientists repeatedly warned of the harm caused by burning fossil fuels, now the industry’s messaging is far more subtle and in many ways more effective than outright climate science denial.


edie.net/news  1/9/2021  Shell campaign promoting carbon offsetting is greenwashing, Dutch advertising watchdog rules –  The Netherlands’ advertising watchdog has urged Royal Dutch Shell to stop running a campaign promoting fuel purchases as ‘carbon neutral’, providing that customers purchase offsets.


independent.co.uk   24/8/2021  UK adults put off brands due to ‘green washing’ – The younger generation is most likely to boycott a business if they don’t agree with its business practices   by Adrian Hearn

A fifth of adults have stopped using a brand over the past 12 months because they thought it had tricked users by ‘green washing’. The survey of 2,000 UK adults shows how important it is for businesses to adopt socially responsible and ethical policies. More than half (52 per cent) of those aged 18 to 25 are ‘keeping an eye’ on the business practices of the companies they use. And the younger generation is also more likely to act if they see business practices they don’t like, with more than a quarter convincing someone else to stop using a business or service because they didn’t agree with the way it acted. In comparison, just 6 per cent of those aged 65 and over have done the same. …


cnbc.com  24/8/2021 Blackrock’s former sustainable investing chief now thinks ESG is a ‘dangerous placebo’
PUBLISHED TUE, AUG 24 20216:50 AM EDT
Silvia Amaro

Tariq Fancy argued that financial institutions have an obvious motivation to push for ESG products given these have higher fees, which then improves their profits.
But there are other issues with ESG investing, according to Fancy, including its subjectivity and the unreliability of data and ratings.


theguardian.com/business/2021/mar/30/tariq-fancy-environmentally-friendly-green-investing


ft.com   21/8/2021  


mongabay.com  7/2020

Burning down the house? Enviva’s giant U.S. wood pellet plants gear up

  • An outdated Kyoto Climate Agreement policy, grandfathered into the 2015 Paris Agreement, counts electrical energy produced by burning biomass — wood pellets — as carbon neutral. However, new science demonstrates that burning forests for energy is dirtier than coal and not carbon neutral in the short-term.
  • But with the carbon accounting loophole still on the books, European Union nations and other countries are rushing to convert coal plants to burn wood pellets, and to count giant biomass energy facilities as carbon neutral — valid on paper even as they add new carbon emissions to the atmosphere. The forest industry argues otherwise.
  • It too is capitalizing on the loophole, building large new wood pellet factories and logging operations in places like the U.S. Southeast — cutting down forests, pelletizing trees, and exporting biomass. A case in point are the two giant plants now being built by the Enviva Corporation in Lucedale, Mississippi and Epes, Alabama.
  • Enviva and other firms can only make biomass profitable by relying on government subsidies. In the end, forests are lost, carbon neutrality takes decades to achieve, and while communities may see a short-term boost in jobs, they suffer air pollution and the risk of sudden economic collapse if and when the carbon loophole is closed.

independent.co.uk  24/8/2021 UK adults put off brands due to ‘green washing’ – The younger generation is most likely to boycott a business if they don’t agree with its business practices  by Adrian Hearn   

A fifth of adults have stopped using a brand over the past 12 months because they thought it had tricked users by ‘green washing’. The survey of 2,000 UK adults shows how important it is for businesses to adopt socially responsible and ethical policies. More than half (52 per cent) of those aged 18 to 25 are ‘keeping an eye’ on the business practices of the companies they use. …


cyprus-mail.com  19/8/2021  Green investing or ‘greenwashing?’ EU rules lead to confusion  

The EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) is an attempt to deliver transparency for investors focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues but fund managers say the definition of sustainability is too vague and has created confusion about what makes the cut. Take the  Allianz  (ALVG.DE)  Global Water fund. ….


economist.com   22/5/2021  Hot air – Sustainable finance is rife with greenwash. Time for more disclosure – Supposedly green and cuddly funds are stuffed full of polluters and sin stocks


financialpost.com  7/5/2021  Here’s why the former head of sustainable investing at BlackRock says don’t believe the ESG marketing hype – Tariq Fancy says ESG detracts from real efforts to address climate change  by Gabriel Friedman


responsible-investor.com  2/2021  Much of what is liberally classified as “sustainable investment” lacks substance. Simple screens and the token consideration of ESG factors in the investment process generate few, if any, real-world benefits for people and planet. Much of the $17trn in sustainable investing is in fact a security-level activity –  by James Purcell 


bbc.co.uk   22/4/2021  Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk agree on bitcoin’s green credentials  – Tesla chief Elon Musk has agreed with Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, who has said that bitcoin “incentivises” renewable energy, despite experts warning otherwise.  The cyrptocurrency’s carbon footprint is as large of some of the world’s biggest cities, studies suggest.  But Mr Dorsey claims that could change if bitcoin miners worked hand-in-hand with renewable energy firms.   One expert said it was a “cynical attempt to greenwash” bitcoin.

China, where more than two-thirds of power is from coal, accounts for more than 75% of bitcoin mining around the world.


theguardian.com  4/2021  How green is your ‘green’ energy tariff? – Suppliers accused of misleading consumers by offering renewable deals that are only green on paper by


telegraph.co.uk  4/2021 Barclays accused of bankrolling oil giants despite climate pledge – Shareholders have tabled a resolution demanding that Barclays phase out its financing for coal, oil and gas companies by Lucy Burton


oilprice.com   3/2021 Big Oil Clashes Over Fossil Fuel Future By Charles Kennedy – Executives from major oil companies clashed over the prospects of oil and gas for the future at the first virtual edition of the CERAWeek conference in Houston.

While BP’s Bernard Looney and Shell’s Ben van Beurden boasted about their shift away from their core business and into renewable energy, Baker Hughes, Hess Corp., and Spain’s Repsol were among those believing that fossil fuels have yet to leave the scene for good, the Houston Chronicle’s Paul Takahashi reports.


theguardian.com 3/2021 Oil firms knew decades ago fossil fuels posed grave health risks, files reveal
Exclusive: documents seen by Guardian show companies fought clean-air rules despite being aware of harm caused by air pollution

The oil industry knew at least 50 years ago that air pollution from burning fossil fuels posed serious risks to human health, only to spend decades aggressively lobbying against clean air regulations, a trove of internal documents seen by the Guardian reveal. The documents, which include internal memos and reports, show the industry was long aware that it created large amounts of air pollution, that pollutants could lodge deep in the lungs and be “real villains in health effects”, and even that its own workers may be experiencing birth defects among their children.

But these concerns did little to stop oil and gas companies, and their proxies, spreading doubt about the growing body of science linking the burning of fossil fuels to an array of health problems that kill millions of people around the world each year. Echoing the fossil-fuel industry’s history of undermining of climate science, oil and gas interests released a torrent of material aimed at raising uncertainty over the harm caused by air pollution and used this to deter US lawmakers from placing further limits on pollutants.


theguardian.com/  6/4/2021   Banks pledge to fight climate crisis – but their boards have deep links with fossil fuels – Analysis finds 77% of directors on boards of seven US banks have ties to ‘climate-conflicted’ groups, as banks continue to finance projects like the Line 3 oil pipeline


ft.com/   8/2020  – ESG investing updates  robert.armstrong@ft.com

Good morning. Those of you who have read too many of my anti-ESG screeds already may want to skip this letter. But I have no plans to shut up on this topic. We’ve got big global problems. I am a capitalist red in tooth and claw, but I just can’t see how financial markets have a meaningful part to play in solving these problems until citizens and governments act first and decisively. 

Tariq Fancy is right about the ESG investment industry. Almost everything that Tariq Fancy says about environmental, social and corporate governance, or ESG, investing has been said before, in one form or another. The significance of what he writes — most recently in a long essay on Medium — is how he says it and who he is. He was the chief investment officer for sustainable investing at BlackRock, which is the most important institutional face of the claim that ESG investing has an important role to play in helping the environment, promoting the social good, holding the corporate world accountable, and so on.  Fancy thinks the ESG project is intellectually bankrupt and is damaging to the most important causes it purports to support. I think this too (at least the “E” and “S” parts; there may be hope for “G”), but it means a lot more coming from him, and he does not hold back. He says BlackRock’s position on global warming is analogous to the National Rifle Association’s on US gun deaths:

In my role at BlackRock, I was helping to popularise an idea that the answer to a sustainable future runs through ESG and sustainability and green products, or in other words, that the answer to the market’s failure to serve the long-term public interest is, of course, more market. A bit like the NRA’s traditional answer to mass shootings and related concerns around public safety — the answer is more guns.   He says, furthermore, that the senior executives he used to work with are way too smart to believe their own claims about ESG:  They must know that they’re exaggerating the degree of overlap between purpose and profit . . . These leaders must know that there is no way the set of ideas they’ve proposed are even close to being up to the challenge of solving the runaway long-term problems . . . And right now all of the other stuff they’re saying — the marketing gobbledegook — is actively misleading people.   I urge you to read Fancy’s essay, which is full of powerful and darkly funny anecdotes about high finance. But because he touches on so many of the key arguments against the ESG industrial complex, it’s a good excuse to lay them out.

Argument one. The only really coherent case for ESG investing changing the world is that it raises the cost of capital for “bad” companies (however you or your fund manager want to define “bad”), which means they have incrementally less financing to do bad stuff. But this argument does not get much airtime from investment companies, because it does not sell high-fee financial products. It is too technical and cuts directly against the idea that ESG investors will make superior returns, in addition to doing good. When Fancy made the cost of capital argument to another BlackRock exec about a low-carbon fund, here’s what happened: “But didn’t you see the talking points?” insisted [the exec], referring to a set of oversimplified bullet points I had not seen arrive in my inbox of overflowing and unread emails the day before. They made clear their view: the key to selling the product was to keep it simple, even if that meant glossing over how it directly contributed to fighting climate change.

Argument two. If ESG investing did provide higher returns — as the industry both explicitly and implicitly promises — then profit-seeking investment managers would be doing all the work for us, and we wouldn’t have to be having this damn conversation in the first place. In one chat with a portfolio manager of stocks, I noticed that his subtle dismissal of the latest research declaring ESG-data-is a-godsend! had a “thou doth protest too much” air to it. It wasn’t hard to guess why . . . The portfolio manager’s view was that they’re already focused on performance since it usually determines their compensation, so if ESG information was truly useful they’d use it without being asked

Argument three. There is no good reason to think that the investment horizon of companies and investors should approximate the timescales of the big collective problems we face. For this and other reasons, the overlap between purpose and profit is small. Most of what the ESG cheerleaders [at BlackRock] wanted to believe should matter for portfolio managers did not matter in reality. It was no one’s fault: the reality is that much of what matters to society simply doesn’t affect the returns of a particular investment strategy. Often this is because of the timeline of the underlying investment: many strategies have a very short time horizon, meaning that longer-term ESG issues aren’t particularly relevant.

Argument four. The core mechanism of ESG investing is divestment, but when an investor sells a security in the secondary market, another buys. All the ESG selling may drive down the price at which the buyers buy, giving them an opportunity for juicy returns as the price recovers. There’s a difference between excusing yourself of something you do not wish to partake in and actively fighting against something you think needs to stop for everyone’s sake. Divestment, which often seems to get confused with boycotts, has no clear real-world impact since 10 per cent of the market not buying your stock is not the same as 10 per cent of your customers not buying your product . . . The first likely makes no difference at all since others will happily own it and will bid it up to fair value in the process.

Argument five. Giving people the dumb idea that shifting their savings from one investment fund to another is going to help materially with, say, climate change creates a dangerous distraction from solutions that fit the scale of the problem, all of which involve changing the rules of capitalism through regulation.  Working with academics and a polling firm, Fancy polled 3,000 people, showing them headlines about ESG risks in the financial system, and asked respondents whether the headlines described an idea useful in the fight against climate change. One headline was about efforts to protect portfolios from climate risk.  I suspected that every time people read the latest such headline about guarding against climate change-related risks in the financial system, they mistakenly believed that these efforts were helpful in the fight against climate change itself. In fact, the survey found that not only was that true, but that most people think that this kind of work is just as helpful as any other pledge, such as large-scale organisational commitments to become net zero carbon emitters. Unfortunately, protecting an investment portfolio from the disastrous effects of climate change is not the same thing as preventing those disastrous effects from occurring in the first place.

Argument six. Green bonds open the way for a neat little capital arbitrage by companies and governments. It’s not totally clear if [green bonds] create much positive environmental impact . . . since most companies have a few qualifying green initiatives that they can raise green bonds to specifically fund while not increasing or altering their overall plans. And nothing stops them from pursuing decidedly non-green activities with their other sources of funding.

Argument seven. To really change the relative financial calculus for “bad” versus “good” companies, ESG funds would have to be orders of magnitude bigger than they are now. They are not going to get big enough.  [Is] a $2bn fund enough to make a difference if the majority of the global economy, with nearly $6tn in private equity alone and some $360tn of global wealth overall (3,000 times and 180,000 times larger, respectively), continue operating business as usual? 

Argument eight. Corporations, and the whole legal and social apparatus in which they sit, were built around the idea that companies exist to maximise shareholder wealth. That’s what they are designed to do and are required to do. Thinking that fiddling around in the financial markets is going to make companies fit for a radically different purpose — helping with broad social problems driven by economic externalities and tricky collective action problems — is simply bonkers.  From top to bottom, from CEO compensation to divisional budgeting and P&L to managerial targets, structures and incentives, we’ve built private firms from the ground up to do one thing really well: extract profits . . . The vast majority of large US companies are incorporated in Delaware, which is perceived as shareholder-friendly and where the courts have been clear that a corporation’s reason for existence is to serve shareholders . . . The foundation of capitalism is strict adherence to fiduciary obligation . . . This adherence to fiduciary obligation “gives credibility to capitalism by addressing the agency cost risk of entrusting money to others”.

Argument nine. Do you really want financial industry bigwigs making choices about how to solve our biggest social problems? Fancy quotes one of the signatories to the hilariously empty and meaningless 2019 Business Roundtable statement on the purpose of the corporation: “There were times that I felt like Thomas Jefferson.” So said Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, who led the drafting of the BRT’s groundbreaking statement on stakeholder value. It’s easy to understand why he felt that way, given the weight of such lofty words about the future direction of not just business, but indeed society in general. But not enough people have asked a simple question: does it make sense that a CEO should feel like a famous US president? Only one of them is elected by the people

I myself find argument five particularly important. From what I understand, it’s clear we need, for example, a whopping big carbon tax, and soon, or we’re cooked. But we have some of the smartest, most powerful people in the corporate world rattling on about this sustainable investing drivel instead. It scares me.


biffa.co.uk/sustainability   Biffa’s sustainability strategy : In March 2020 we published our sustainability strategy ‘Resourceful, Responsible’ setting out goals for 2030 that are focussed on three core areas aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) : Building a circular economy -Tackling climate change – Caring for our people

theguardian  30/7/2021  UK waste firm Biffa was fined £1.5m for exporting filthy rubbish marked as waste paper for recycling in India and Indonesia in breach of ban  by Diane Taylor

…” Biffa said the prosecution brought by the Environment Agency had not been in the public interest. However, after Friday’s sentence, it removed that statement from its website. Instead Biffa told the Guardian: “We take our responsibility for environmental stewardship very seriously and we accept the court’s judgment. We no longer export waste paper outside the OECD and will carefully review our processes to ensure they fully meet the implications of this judgment.”

Judge Shane Collery QC told Wood Green crown court Biffa had shown no contrition. He found the company’s previous comments about being picked on by the Environment Agency and no public interest served in being prosecuted a second time as “aggravating and unattractive”.

The Environment Agency brought the prosecution against Biffa after uncovering rolling contracts to send vast amounts of waste to India and Indonesia.

Malcolm Lythgo, the head of waste regulation at the Environment Agency, said: “Biffa shipped banned materials to developing countries without having systems in place to prevent the offences. The Environment Agency will pursue those who blight the lives of overseas communities through illegal exports. This guilty verdict underlines that anyone producing or handling waste must only export material legally and safely for recycling.

“The Environment Agency stopped the illegal export of almost 23,000 tonnes of unsuitable waste in 2019-20. We have stepped up increased monitoring of international waste shipments.”

During the most recent trial, jurors were told of Biffa’s rolling monthly contracts worth a combined £39,500 to move the household waste to India or Indonesia. The company was convicted of four breaches of regulation 23 of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 between October 2018 and April 2019. In addition to the £1.5m fine, Biffa was ordered to pay costs of £153,827.99, and a proceeds of crime order of £38,388. In September 2019, Biffa was fined £350,000, with costs of £240,000 and a proceeds of crime order of £9,912, for sending household waste, described as waste paper, to China between May and June 2015. …

The Biffa group has a turnover of more than £1bn, and about 100,000 tonnes of waste is exported from its Edmonton site.”…


thetimes.co.uk  6/7/2021  Liontrust flop is a warning the ESG blancmange is starting to wobble
Patrick Hosking  
“Investment houses have grown accustomed to one certainty in recent years. Label a fund “sustainable” or “responsible” or give it an “impact investment” badge and, hey presto, the money from end investors floods in. People want to feel they are doing their bit, whether helping to combat planet warming or slave labour. According to the Investment Association, retail purchases of funds it defines as sustainable have been running at about £3 billion a quarter since the pandemic started.”…


blackincbooks.com.  2012  Greenwash by Guy Pearse  –  “Greenwashing is when a company or organization spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimizing their environmental impact. It is a deceitful advertising gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands.”

researchgate.net – read or download  2016  Greenwash book review by Robin Canniford  –  “…most claims to eco-friendliness and carbon neutrality fail to wash.”


economist.com   22/5/2021  Hot air – Sustainable finance is rife with greenwash. Time for more disclosure – Supposedly green and cuddly funds are stuffed full of polluters and sin stocksESG 0 Economist 5 2021

…” A better system would force companies to reveal their full carbon footprint, including emissions from the products they sell and the goods and services they buy. It would help if big polluters also revealed how they expect their footprint to change and the amount of capital expenditure that goes toward low-carbon investments. That way an investor could work out how much pollution their portfolio is responsible for today and how it might look tomorrow.

The results of such disclosure may come as a surprise. We estimate that listed firms that are not state-controlled account for only 14-32% of the world’s emissions—so green investing can be only part of the answer. About 5% of these firms account for over 80% of the total emissions. They are mostly oil producers, utilities, cement firms and mining companies. Better disclosure would also show that only a tiny number of firms are investing heavily in renewable energy or breakthrough technologies.

The combined effect would be to expose as bunk the idea that swathes of the corporate world and asset-management industry are planet-saving heroes. And it would help investors put their money into truly green firms, ensuring a better allocation of capital and a faster energy transition.”


financialpost.com  7/5/2021  Here’s why the former head of sustainable investing at BlackRock says don’t believe the ESG marketing hype – Tariq Fancy says ESG detracts from real efforts to address climate change  by Gabriel Friedman


responsible-investor.com  2/2021  Much of what is liberally classified as “sustainable investment” lacks substance. Simple screens and the token consideration of ESG factors in the investment process generate few, if any, real-world benefits for people and planet. Much of the $17trn in sustainable investing is in fact a security-level activity –  by James Purcell 


bbc.co.uk   22/4/2021  Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk agree on bitcoin’s green credentials  – Tesla chief Elon Musk has agreed with Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, who has said that bitcoin “incentivises” renewable energy, despite experts warning otherwise.  The cyrptocurrency’s carbon footprint is as large of some of the world’s biggest cities, studies suggest.  But Mr Dorsey claims that could change if bitcoin miners worked hand-in-hand with renewable energy firms.   One expert said it was a “cynical attempt to greenwash” bitcoin.

China, where more than two-thirds of power is from coal, accounts for more than 75% of bitcoin mining around the world.

see also  ALT-currencies-digital-bitcoin


telegraph.co.uk  4/2021 Barclays accused of bankrolling oil giants despite climate pledge – Shareholders have tabled a resolution demanding that Barclays phase out its financing for coal, oil and gas companies by Lucy Burton


oilprice.com   3/2021 Big Oil Clashes Over Fossil Fuel Future  By Charles Kennedy – Executives from major oil companies clashed over the prospects of oil and gas for the future at the first virtual edition of the CERAWeek conference in Houston.

While BP’s Bernard Looney and Shell’s Ben van Beurden boasted about their shift away from their core business and into renewable energy, Baker Hughes, Hess Corp., and Spain’s Repsol were among those believing that fossil fuels have yet to leave the scene for good, the Houston Chronicle’s Paul Takahashi reports.


theguardian.com  3/2021  Oil firms knew decades ago fossil fuels posed grave health risks, files reveal
Exclusive: documents seen by Guardian show companies fought clean-air rules despite being aware of harm caused by air pollution

The oil industry knew at least 50 years ago that air pollution from burning fossil fuels posed serious risks to human health, only to spend decades aggressively lobbying against clean air regulations, a trove of internal documents seen by the Guardian reveal. The documents, which include internal memos and reports, show the industry was long aware that it created large amounts of air pollution, that pollutants could lodge deep in the lungs and be “real villains in health effects”, and even that its own workers may be experiencing birth defects among their children.

But these concerns did little to stop oil and gas companies, and their proxies, spreading doubt about the growing body of science linking the burning of fossil fuels to an array of health problems that kill millions of people around the world each year. Echoing the fossil-fuel industry’s history of undermining of climate science, oil and gas interests released a torrent of material aimed at raising uncertainty over the harm caused by air pollution and used this to deter US lawmakers from placing further limits on pollutants.


theguardian.com/  6/4/2021   Banks pledge to fight climate crisis – but their boards have deep links with fossil fuels – Analysis finds 77% of directors on boards of seven US banks have ties to ‘climate-conflicted’ groups, as banks continue to finance projects like the Line 3 oil pipeline


greenpeace.org   5/2020  Oil in the Cloud – How Tech Companies are Helping Big Oil Profit from Climate Destruction  “As the oil and gas industry confronts the end of the oil age and deteriorating earnings, major oil corporations such as Shell, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and others have turned to the cloud giants and their high powered computing capabilities to find and extract more oil and gas and reduce production costs. Despite the biggest cloud companies’ commitments to address climate change, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all have connections to some of the world’s dirtiest oil companies for the explicit purpose of getting more oil and gas out of the ground and onto the market faster and cheaper. Contracts between tech firms and oil and gas companies are now found in every phase of the oil and gas production chain and are significantly undermining the climate commitments that Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have made.”

Greenpeace Report: Oil in the Cloud


voguebusiness.com  2020  The-flawed-ways-brands-talk-about-sustainability-coronavirus

Consumers and experts alike say it’s difficult to know which brands truly meet higher ethical standards while greenwashing remains an industry-wide concern.  Corporate social responsibility reporting has improved, with Kering and Adidas considered fashion industry leaders.  Coronavirus and impending potential layoffs of millions of garment workers worldwide raise new questions about the extent to which brands are responsible for the workers in their supply chains.  In August, the Norwegian Consumer Authority called H&M out for greenwashing.   H&M’s Conscious collection was made out of more sustainable  materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester and Tencel. The problem was that H&M didn’t explain how, exactly, these materials are better for the environment. …


buildinggreen.com  2011  The Nine Types of Greenwashing –  Most of the greenwashing we see falls into one of these nine types. Here are tips on how to spot them.

  • 1) Green by Association – A company slathers itself and its marketing thoroughly in environmental terms and images so that even if its products have no environmental benefits, consumers associate them with positive environmental attributes. Examples: Gas-guzzling cars and trucks pictured in remote natural settings, or housing developments named for natural features that they have destroyed, e.g., “Conifer Lane.”
  • 2) Lack of Definition – Marketing for a product makes an environmental claim that sounds good to the consumer but is too vague or general. Examples: a product is described as being non-toxic or without hazardous chemicals, when these definitions are only meaningful in specific contexts–many chemicals are non-toxic to the touch but harmful to ingest, for example. A radiant barrier paint product is advertised as having an incredibly high R-value, but the ad neglects to mention that it only insulates that well when installed on NASA spacecraft that see thousands of degrees of temperature differences.
  • 3) Unproven Claims – Environmental claims are made by a company, but the company cannot or will not provide evidence to back them up. Examples: A company claims to have implemented a new manufacturing process to increase its product’s recycled content, but doesn’t certify the claim. A manufacturer claims to have eliminated hazardous ingredients from a product but claims that due to trade secrets, it can’t reveal any specifics.
  • 4) The Non Sequitur – A company uses a valid claim about a product as the basis for a further claim that is not warranted, but may on its surface appear to be reasonable. Example: A manufacturer accurately claims that its product is resistant to mold growth, but also implies or states that thus using the product improves the health of occupants–a claim that has some logic, but that really needs to be evaluated separately.
  • 5) Forgetting the Life Cycle aka The Red Herring – A company chooses one easily understood aspect of a product’s environmental profile to improve and highlight, while ignoring other significant impacts–sometimes out of ignorance; sometimes as an intentional effort to divert attention. Example: A company touts the high recycled content in its countertops, but it uses a lot of embodied energy and carbon to make them, and uses binders with human health impacts.
  • 6) Bait and Switch – A company heavily promotes the environmental attributes of a single product, while selling and manufacturing a bulk of otherwise similar products that lack the same environmental attributes. Example: A company sells cedar shingles that are certified as sustainably harvested, earning acclaim, but produces the product in such little volume at such an increased price that most of its sales resulting from the attention are for non-certified products.
  • 7) Rallying Behind a Lower Standard – A product earns an apparently valid, third-party certification–but the product’s manufacturer or trade association had influenced the development of the relevant standard in a way that makes the certification less meaningful than it appears. Example: The forest products industry catches hell in the early 1990s for environmental damages caused by logging, but rather than join the rigorous green standard that has already been developed, the industry bands together to create its own program with similar, but much more vague standards.
  • 8) Reluctant Enthusiast – A company lobbies against new environmental measures, claiming that they will be too costly. Particularly if it’s losing the battle however, it hedges its bets, publicly embracing similar measures–while continuing to resist them behind the scenes. Example: “Beyond Petroleum.”
  • 9) Outright Lying –  Either intentionally or inadvertently, a company bends the truth, or simply ignores it. Example: A company claims that a product is beneficial to the environment, when it’s actually just less bad. Or a manufacturer claims that its product contains recycled content based on reuse of scrap within a manufacturing line–but that actually doesn’t meet the definition of recycled.


see also


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